meetingsHere’s a fact, business meetings are one of those things that people tend to unanimously hate.

And it’s not that those people’s intentions are bad, or that they don’t care about the issues at hand, which meetings are supposed to discuss. No, the problem isn’t there at all. The true problem lies in the structure of the meetings themselves.

So to erase the hatred, we first need to tackle the issues, one by one. Here’s how:

1. The critique

One of the worst things about meetings is that no matter what you say, someone will almost inevitably interrupt and critique your idea. Whether they are right or wrong is not important at this moment, but the sole fact of interrupting and expressing their objection is a big focus breaker.

The solution: Ban critiquing entirely. Everyone gets to express their opinion from start to finish. And critical opinions should have their place only during the second part of the meeting.

2. No resources available beforehand

If people can’t prepare for the meeting, they will not feel confident taking part in it. That’s because there’s a high likelihood that, at some point, they will be asked a question that they don’t know the answer to.

This is a genuine worry, especially since a meeting is a group scenario where everybody is looking at you.

The solution: Always provide everyone with the required info and resources beforehand.

3. No agenda

There’s nothing worse than sitting in a meeting and not knowing what the topic is (the standard “Monday Weekly Meeting” is not enough), what the individual parts of the meeting are, or when it is going to end.

Creating an agenda does sound like a simple thing to do, but more often than not, people tend to forget about this element. This happens usually if the meetings take place regularly.

Over time, the people in charge of the meeting develop an opinion that goes something along the lines of, “Hey, we’re having these meetings every week. We don’t need an agenda at this point.” Well, that’s just wrong.

The solution: Always – let me say this again – always have an agenda.

4. Meetings getting too long

Even despite having an agenda, meetings tend to end a lot later than they should have. This is a big problem and probably one of the main frustrations with meetings.

In a typical scenario, the person in charge thinks that there are still some important things to talk about even though the time is up, so the meeting continues. Well, maybe those things are important, but the fact is that at that point, people only think about getting back to whatever they were doing before the meeting, and they aren’t even thinking clearly about the matters at hand. It really is more effective and productive to stop the meeting when the clock tells to do so.

The solution: End meetings on time.

5. Not using the right tools

It’s the 21st century. I know this does sound obvious, but some people tend to forget about that and still conduct a meeting like they’re back in 1999.

First of all, let’s handle the elephant in the room. If it’s possible, have the meeting online instead of forcing people to show up at a certain location.

These days, there’s a ton of great software and other tools that you can use to make that happen. For example, one of the leaders in the online space Blue Jeans provides great video conferencing solutions in the cloud. And in the true 21st century spirit, it does work on all popular devices and systems. Another alternative you might look into is

But that’s just one thing. Need an effective way to handle meeting notes? Try out Evernote. With it, you can assign a note-taker at each meeting, have them create the notes, and then share them with the rest of the team. You can also check out, which can be a great alternative. It’s been designed specifically for meeting notes and has many of the common meeting note types already implemented.

Having a brainstorming session? Give Trello a go. With its card-based design, it’s perfect for brainstorming and recording independent ideas along with some brief comments for each. For an offline alternative, check out FreeMind – the top mind mapping tool out there (available for Mac and PC).

The solution: Use the tools that the 21st century gives you.

6. People are getting late

Everyone hates people who are late for a meeting. And especially so if the meeting can’t get started because someone is not there.

While we can do very little to prevent people from being late, there is very simple, and actually obvious solution to this problem.

The solution: Don’t wait for people who are late. Begin without them. The sole fact of someone being late shouldn’t destroy the morning/evening schedule for everyone else who showed up on time.

7. No conclusions drawn

No matter how devoted you are to conducting the meeting properly, there are always going to be some problems, as well as smaller and bigger issues. And the worst you can do is not learn from them.

The solution: After every meeting, analyze the results and list all the things that were good and bad about the meeting.

Did you accomplish your goals? What can you change for the next meeting?

Answering these questions will give you a great starting point to improve your meeting-handling skills over time.


I’m sure you can agree that meetings are often way more difficult than they need to be. Luckily though, most of the problems are within our control and we can fix them with just a bit of effort.

Keep the above in mind, and always try to make your next meeting a little better than the previous one.

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